Motorcycle: The Singles
Date: Sunday, October 31 @ 15:49:52 UTC
Topic: Motorcycle, Motorcycles, Motor Cycle
Harley-Davidson's future was forged not out of the rumble of V-twins, but with the thump of simple, single-cylinder engines. The very first examples differed little from the 1903 prototype, and the engines conformed to the same basic "F-head" design housed in a primitive chassis only slightly removed from bicycle practice.
It was inevitably plain and basic, but this humble single showed a ruggedness that was to become a Milwaukee hallmark. Only ten years after the debut of the first Harley-Davidson model, the company was advertising that one of its machines had travelled 100,000 miles (160,930km) on its original bearings. In those days of dirt roads, mud, dust and potholes, bikes had to be tough.
These attributes of durability, simplicity and economy ensured that singles figured somewhere in the Harley-Davidson range well into the 1930s. It was during the era of the singles that Harley's credo was first expressed: "Experience has shown that it is preferable to use a comparatively large motor running at moderate speed in preference to a small motor running at high speed." Those words appeared in a publicity brochure printed in 1905 but could almost have been written today.
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